Wednesday, 25 March 2015 01:00

Water Operators’ Capacity Development Initiative in Uganda

The 'Water Asset Management for Small Towns in Uganda with special focus on Post-Conflict Northern Region' initiative is a capacity development programme running from 2012 to 2016. One of the key goals of this action is to develop the local operators' Asset Management capacity in 10 small towns in Uganda through WOPs.

This initiative combines knowledge transfer of a national operator and an international operator to smaller operators in the country of the national operator, and is an example of South-South and North-South collaboration all in one.

Development of asset registers and network maps in the towns, trained personnel in plumbing and electro mechanics, greater awareness at regional level organizations and an overall appreciation of asset management are some of the key outcomes of this initiative to date.

Approach

Throughout the project, numerous capacity development activities such as classroom teaching, technical visits and vocational training are supporting the development of organizational, individual and institutional capacity. Following the training sessions, the teams developed action plans to be implemented in their own areas.

Technical visits of short term international experts have also supported the development of asset registers, an asset management policy framework for the urban water sector, network map development in the towns and long term investment planning. Owing to the complex environments in the towns to apply state-of-the-art changes, technical visits also sought to devise small changes with big impacts. A key activity has been the basic arrangement of spare parts stores in the towns, requiring negligible funds yet creating instant change in the management of tools.

Observations

Appreciation of Asset management is growing within the mentee utility owing to the investment in workshops and trainings. Individuals who were trained under the project have commended the training as positive however underlined that implementation is not always possible due to a lack of tools.

Teams who have seen greatest capacity development have called for mentors to remain 'present' through continued engagement and communication, and follow-up on implementation of what has been learned. Long lapses between training periods was seen to have a negative impact.

Mentor teams highlighted that they too learn from the experience, particularly how to manage under difficult circumstances that are uncommon in their home utility. This allows for creativity and innovation in solving complex problems that the mentors would otherwise have never experienced.

The Beneficiaries: 10 small towns include, Adjumani, Amolatar, Apac, Dokolo, Kamdini, Koboko, Moyo, Nebbi, Oyam, Packwach and the Northern Umbrella of Water and Sanitation (nUws). The towns are under the Water and Sanitation Development Facility North (WSDF-N).

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